Philadelphia Marathon Spectator Recap + Race Photos

Philadelphia Marathon Spectator Recap + Race Photos


Last weekend I took a short overnight trip to Philadelphia to support my friend Cipriana who ran the Philadelphia Marathon. It was her 7th marathon but first time running Philly. Cheering for races is a lot of fun even if you don’t know anyone running it. The runners need as much support as they can get.

We saw the Liberty Bell on Saturday and wandered around the city. Sunday was race day! I spent some time cheering for the race and a lot of time doing my own thing walking around Philly. Which was especially nice with all the deserted streets.

All pictures below are mine. You are free to use them as long as you link back to this post. Thank you.


I had planned to cheer at mile 1, 6, 13, and the finish. Unfortunately security was being crazy after mile 13 so I couldn’t get over there. But cheering was great earlier in the race! Watching the runners begin up the first mile was fun. No one is in pain yet. Everyone is excited.

I walked over to mile 6 where most still looked energetic. Some runners were doubting why they signed up for this race months ago. I stuck it out and cheered for everyone up to the walkers. I figure that when I run one, I’ll be in the 5 hour mark. So it always bothers me that people cheer for the fast ones then leave the slow ones sadly behind. They need your support the most!

Walking to different spectating spots is easy! No need for public transportation, thankfully.

Start line philadelphia marathon 2013
Waiting for the race to start
Philadelphia Marathon Spectator watching Runners at Mile 6
Runners at Mile 1 of the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon
Runners at Mile 1 of the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon
Runners at Mile 1 of the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon
Runners at Mile 6 of the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon
Runners at Mile 6 of the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon
Runners at Mile 6 of the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon
Runners at Mile 6 of the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon

Overzealous Security

I’m going to gripe here for a minute. The security for spectators was ridiculous. Sure, I understand why but wait, no I don’t. Because just two weeks ago I cheered for the NYC Marathon, was within 1/2 mile of the finish line, and had zero security to go through. In NYC! No offense to Philly, but the city and race are much much much smaller.

There really was no excuse for ego-tripping overzealous security not letting people get to the finish line to see their loved ones because a backpack was too big. Was this a hiking backpack? Nope. Just something I carried some signs, warm clothes, and snacks in. Didn’t know we couldn’t carry things to watch races now.

I am very glad I cheered at NYC and had a great time. Otherwise the Philadelphia Marathon would have put a very sour taste in my mouth for future marathon spectating.

Walking Around Philadelphia

After the fiasco with security, my days as a Philadelphia marathon spectator were over. I resigned to simply being a tourist. And spent two hours wandering around the city. The streets were still closed and most people were over at the finish line. This left the city with an apocalyptic feel.

Philadelphia is an old city with narrow streets, beautiful architecture, and cobblestone. Being in the northeast, the fall season is ending which left some color on the trees but many bare.

As cheese-steak capital of the world, these sandwiches were everywhere. We indulged in one at Carmen’s in Reading Market. It was fine (maybe I only like non-philly cheesesteaks). But the market itself was enormous! And great! Not only are there tons of places to eat but there are also just a lot of stores in general. Spices, and home-made crafts, and cookbooks, and it was neat. Without being a pretentious flea market. There’s also lots of amish-ran restaurants – these are closed on Sundays.

Philly maps on sign posts are great for tourists
These signposts with city maps were all over the place.
landmark site maps in philadelphia
Signs pointing out key sites & landmarks are very tourist-friendly.
SEPTA bus stop
SEPTA bus stop
old buildings in philadelphia
In Philadelphia, things are old
Philadelphia street
Lots of streets were empty during the race
Philly street parking
Limited paid street parking
Philadelphia murals
Philadelphia Murals
Tree lined street in philly
Tree lined street
zombie apocalypse in philadelphia
Philadelphia street
Decorated stoop philly
Decorated stoop
Old building in PHiladelphia
Old building in Philly
Reading Terminal Market
Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia

6 Replies to “Philadelphia Marathon Spectator Recap + Race Photos”

  1. Wow. It does sound like the security was a little ridiculous. Good grief. I’m glad you got to go spectate, tho! And I love the photos of the runners with all the motion – it gives a great sense of the feel of it.

    I love Philadelphia as a city to visit. It has so much history and so many gorgeous old buildings to see. Did you get a chance to visit Elfreth’s Alley? If not, you should go next time. It’s the US’s oldest residential street and people still live in the houses there. It’s very cool.

    1. I didn’t look up any tourist information about Philly before going. I’d love to see that street – will definitely remember it for next time! I’d also love to explore more of the city for the architecture alone.

  2. Looks very grey/brown (like Sydney?)

    We didn’t get to go to Philly but I did have what was supposedly a proper Philly cheese steak at 1000 Miles to Philly and was seriously underwhelmed. Loved all the non-Philly cheese steaks at Brooklyn delis though (lost count of how many we gorged on).

    1. Oh no! That is not a good cheesesteak place! Shorty’s is the closest to a real philly cheesesteak I’ve found in nyc. It’s a weird food because a “real” cheesetseak is supposed to have cheese whiz on it…. which is kinda gross. But I always do it anyway!

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